Germany wants to ban the mass shredding of male baby chickens in the chicken industry from 2022, the government said Wednesday. Every year, tens of millions of baby chickens are shredded in the country.
In the chicken businesses, male baby chickens are separated from females immediately after they’re born and killed in a shredder.
The male babies are killed because they’re no good for the chicken business since they can’t ‘produce’ eggs and have less meat.
Animal welfare activists have long campaigned to end the shredding practice, but farmers have complained there is no practical, affordable and cruelty-free alternative.
Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said that they’ve invested in technologies to determine the sex of chicks before they’re born, so the egg can be destroyed before the baby is born in what she called “bringing animal welfare and economic efficiency together”.
One technique, developed by a German firm, involves using a laser to make a tiny hole to extract liquid from a fertilised egg to test it for the presence of a female hormone.
The European advocacy group Foodwatch criticised the move, saying it did not go far enough in an industry that also causes suffering for animals in other ways.
“If only the cruel practice of killing chicks in Germany is ended, this will change absolutely nothing about the unbearable suffering of laying hens,” said Martin Ruecker, executive director of Foodwatch.
Germany and France committed in January 2020 to work together to end the practice of chick shredding by the end of 2021.
French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has also committed to outlawing the practice in France from the end of 2021.
Switzerland banned the shredding of baby chickens last year, but still allows them to be gassed.